Traffic – updated

Traffic

NZTA and the politicians regularly tell us that traffic is at a standstill on the Kapiti Coast, that we’re gridlocked, that rising population means more traffic in the future and that we have to prepare for the future by building ever bigger roads.  This sounds like common sense and we should all agree.

The problem is that the facts don’t bear this out, as anyone who has ever sat in Auckland rush hour traffic can tell you. If the traffic is moving, it’s not gridlocked. We used to regularly get jammed up between Paraparumu and Waikanae, but we don’t any more, except on public holidays and the occasional Friday, and it’s since the railway was extended. All the Waikanae people who drove down to Paraparaumu to catch the unit can now get it at Waikanae and so don’t jam the road. Also the passing lanes have been removed and any traffic specialist will tell you it’s merging that slows down the traffic.

Another fact is that traffic is not only not increasing, it is decreasing nationally and has been for some years, inversely paralleling the rise of fuel costs. We thought it was probably doing that here in Kapiti, but couldn’t prove it because NZTA haven’t been measuring traffic along this section this year or, at least, haven’t been publishing the results in their monthly reports. So we put in an OIA request for the 2011 figures and added them to the information we had. The result was handed to an economist, Dr Michael Pickford to analyse and you can download his report here.

From this we can make a graph:

 with the data:

NB this is an image, but the data is available in the PDF as text.

This diagram shows the Southbound morning peak does not excede the road capacity

As above, this diagram shows the Northbound morning peak does not excede the road capacity

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